How do you feel about the use of swear words in your students' creative writing?
Actually, this one is a red herring for me, a no brainer. People talk that way. Your writing has to be honest to the way people are. You have to be truthful to your characters and material.
But I teach at a conservative university, and my students are always asking if it is OK to put swear words in their writing.
We talk about the power of these taboo words. I tell them stories of sweet old ladies in nursing homes with alzheimers swearing up blue streaks. These words seem to dwell in a different part of the brain and are the last to be forgotten.
What do I do for those who object to hearing swear words if a poem or story is read out loud in class?
Well, I play it conservatively at a conservative university. I make it the student's responsibility to tell the class before they read something, and I give the students the option of leaving the room.
You know how students love to skip class. Well, I've never had one student get up and leave for fear of a taboo word.